by nycgo.com staff
Photo: Alex Lopez
Spanning 843 acres in the heart of Manhattan, Central Park is one of the world's greatest urban oases, encompassing a diverse landscape of rolling fields, walking trails and tranquil bodies of water—all sculpted by human hands. Designed in the mid-19th century by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, Central Park is the centerpiece of the City's public parks system. Among its attractions are the Central Park Zoo, Belvedere Castle and the Friedsam Memorial Carousel (which, weather permitting, operates seven days a week from April through October and intermittently the rest of the year). Sheep Meadow and the Great Lawn offer sprawling expanses where visitors can relax and enjoy the outdoors. In the winter, there's ice-skating at Trump Rink, which provides a picturesque backdrop for that classic cold-weather pastime. In the summer, the Delacorte Theater hosts Shakespeare in the Park, outdoor performances of the Bard's work. Elsewhere, Rumsey Playfield serves as the primary home for SummerStage, a citywide free performing-arts festival featuring music, dance, theater and more. Notably, Rumsey hosts Metropolitan Opera recitals featuring singers and a pianist from the famed opera company. For more ideas on what to see while visiting the sprawling NYC green space, check out our slideshow of must-see Central Park sights.